Breaking (Bad) News

The Common Core Task Force Commission released their final report. You can read the official press release here, or click here for the full 55 page report.

On the surface at least, the recommendations contain some very positive suggestions for changes (see list below), although some observers suggest, the modifications will, in reality be superficial at best.

The big news is that the recommendation does, in fact, include a four year moratorium. However, while they keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. The report says “… any current Common Core aligned tests should not count for students or teachers until the start of 2019-2020 school year when the new statewide standards developed through this process will be put into place…During the transition, the 18 percent of teachers whose performance is measured, in part, by Common Core tests will use different local measures approved by the state, similar to the measures already being used by the majority of teachers

In other words, they are not recommending severing the tie between student test scores and teacher evaluations, they are just temporarily banning the use of common core tests for that purpose. If I’m reading this correctly (and I’ll follow up to let you know if it turns out I’m wrong), 50% of every teacher’s evaluation will still be based on test scores – ¬†just not common core tests.

I had previously written that legislation would be needed to make these changes, but this turns out not to be true because “The Education Transformation Act of 2015 will remain in place, and no new legislation is required to implement the recommendations of the report, including recommendations regarding the transition period for consequences for students and teachers.”

This is definitely NOT something to celebrate. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.

In the meantime, here are the major changes outlined in the report.

  • Overhauling the Common Core and adopting locally-driven high quality New York education standards with input from local districts, educators, and parents through a transparent and open process that are age-appropriate and allow educators flexibility for Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners.
  • Establishing a transparent and open process by which New York standards are periodically reviewed by educators and content area experts, since educators know their schools and students best.
  • Providing educators and local school districts with the flexibility to develop and tailor curriculum to meet the needs of their individual students and requiring the State to create and release new and improved curriculum resources that educators can then adapt to meet the needs of their individual students.
  • Engaging New York educators, not a private corporation, to drive the review and creation of State standards-aligned tests in an open and transparent manner.
  • Minimizing student testing anxiety by reducing the number of test days and test questions and providing ongoing test transparency to parents, teachers and districts on test questions and student test scores.
  • Ensuring that State tests account for different types of learners, including Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners.
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